The Ottawa Senators check in at No. 22 in THN’s logo rankings. This franchise has never fielded a truly winning crest, and maybe the name deserves the blame. When you’re called the Senators, your logo is doomed to be boring or innaccurate – or both.
The original logo of the modern (1990s-born) Senators was about as exciting as a stack of Premium Plus crackers, which is what you’d expect for a team called the Senators. The latest incarnation mostly elicits guffaws in the THN office. We can’t take the character seriously. Maybe it’s the fact he’s dressed in battle gear like a Spartan or, more accurately, a Roman soldier, when his government title is Senator. If we subscribe to the idea of a general from the Roman senate, as the franchise originally described this logo, the armor isn’t what most Senators wore in ancient Rome. This is. And it would’ve been awfully tough to win wars or hockey games wearing that. Also, nothing about the logo connects to the Canadian, Ottawa-based idea of a senator in the Canadian Parliament.
The disconnect between team name and image puts the Ottawa logo at an immediate disadvantage. Also not helping: the cartoony look. It’s almost too detailed, too comic booky, to place on a hockey sweater. The poor, overly serious fella attracts teasing. You want to swipe the helmet off his head and run circles around him until he complains you’ll get him in trouble with his manager at the Caesar’s Palace casino.
Think you can improve on the Senators design? Submit your artwork to email@example.com. When we complete our logo rankings, we’ll share our favorite redesigns from readers. You can submit a drawing for all 30 NHL logos if you desire.
(All logos below are from Chris Creamer’s website.)
HISTORY OF THE SENATORS LOGO
The Ottawa Senators existed as a franchise in the late 1800s and lasted a few decades before folding, but they aren’t technically the same franchise as today’s version.
The “new” Ottawa Senators were founded in 1990, and a pre-launch logo popped up on T-shirts and hoodies all over the city by 1991. It was accurate, with the two Ts forming a representation of the Peace Tower. But it wasn’t pretty. Think for a moment how plain and ugly the logo is… then stop and realize what the Washington Capitals have gotten away with for years.
The first real logo debuted on jerseys in time for Ottawa’s inaugural season, 1992-93. The design was simple, more symbolic than detailed, and represented the Centurion/Roman general figure who connected (loosely) to the term Senator.
The 1996-97 season was magical for Ottawa, as the Jacques Martin era really got going and the franchise made its first post-season appearance. The logo also underwent a slight transformation, as the words “Ottawa Senators” disappeared in favor of laurels.
Next came the more detailed, cartoonish Centurion character. It appeared on alternate unis as early as 1997-98. The main reason for giving the face more features was to address criticism that the logo too closely resembled that of the USC Trojans or Trojan condoms. This one is similar to Ottawa’s primary logo today, except the eyes are a bit more, uh, naked and intense.
The current incarnation of our Roman buddy has been Ottawa’s primary emblem since 2007-08. It’s slightly more upright than the alternate jersey version, and the additional squint in the eyes makes him more stoic. Mirroring the shift toward visor use in the NHL, his helmet also protects more of his face. Good on him.
Ottawa has experimented with some alternate jersey logos in recent years. One is a crime against humanity. Not only is it a word – which I’m not a fan of – it’s a nickname. Placing the word ‘Sens’ on a sweater was a pathetic attempt to capitalize on a new-age fad. They may as well have called themselves the Ottawa Pogs or the Ottawa Gangnam Styles.
Thankfully, Ottawa saved the best for last. The Heritage Jersey logo, which is a simple ‘O,’ honors the original incarnation of the Senators – the team that won Stanley Cups. It’s simplistic and hardly exciting, but it’s oh-so classy and carries plenty of historical weight.
Dissenting opinion: “No. 22 feels a bit harsh for the Senators logo. It’s at least crisp and clean, unlike some of the ugly abstract symbols popping up on jerseys nowadays. And while using a Roman general to depict a senator in Ottawa is a stretch, it can’t really be faulted. Roman soldiers are far more intimidating than modern politicians. Well, most of them.” – Matt Larkin
Time to let you take your best shot at a new Sens logo. Choose any color scheme you want and send your design to firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe we’ll pick yours at the end of the ranking series, when we announce our favorite designs from all 30 franchises.
Matt Larkin is an associate editor at The Hockey News and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Matt Larkin on Twitter at @THNMattLarkin